Thursday, April 21, 2016


If you take a look at the list of movies and TV shows releasing in the United States, and the ones that succeed, you will find that comedy dominates the list. People love to laugh, and as the world becomes more and more troubled - with global warming, terrorism, and crime on the rise - there is an ever-increasing need for films that distract people from these issues. Or help them deal with these issues in a way that does not send them crying with despair.
As the country has a large African American population, the number of movies catering to them, is also quite high. While there are a few dramatic and romantic movies in this space, a large number of them are comedy movies. And the actors who star in these movies are hugely popular and iconic figures in their own right. Think of Eddie Murphy who was fantastic in the Nutty Professor films, Norbit, and Beverly Hills Cop series. There is Queen Latifah who is almost equally popular for her comic timing and style. She has been in the Ice Age films, as the voice of Ellie, she has her own talk show, and she was also part of the Barber Shop franchise (the second film titled Barbershop 2: Back in Business).
Barber Shop has been a very popular series for its star, Ice Cube, who has multiple other comic successes to his credit. It is set in a barbershop in the South Side of Chicago. The first film introduced Calvin (Ice Cube) who inherits a barbershop, a cornerstone of life in America at one time, from his father. He discovers the true value of his inheritance only after he sells it, as he realizes that it is a place for people of the community to bond.
The second Barber Shop film took the same premise and setting, and some of the same characters, and dealt with a new set of challenges. In this film, the antagonists were urban developers trying to do away with all mom and pop stores for a branded world. Ice Cube was joined by Queen Latifah for this film though Anthony Anderson (who has lately been seen in the hit TV series Blackish) who was in the first one, sat this one out.
He makes a comeback in the comedy movie Barber Shop: The Next Cut, reprising his role as J.D. This one also has Nicki Minaj. The story is about the increasing violence and crime in the neighborhood of the barbershop. Calvin and the rest of the crew decide to tackle it in their own way.
Will this be the last film of the series? That is hard to say, as the previous film had released a decade before this one. Even if a sequel is not on the cards, a remake may just pop up a decade after.




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2016: Top Horror Films To Get Excited About In The New Year


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We're only four months into the new year and it seems that horror movie buffs all around the world already have their hands full in terms of new gems to get excited about.
Horror fans across the globe seem to have been suddenly blessed as of recent. This particular area of the film world has finally begun to thrive into a very glamorous and properly appreciated culture in film. Though we have sure suffered our weight in remakes and endless sequels, it's no doubt that we are seeing some of the most original and artistic horror films of our generation.
Though when awards season comes around, reality strikes yet again. The Horror and film noir genre's unique and underground artistic expression just may be doomed to be seen as an underrated spark outside the spotlight.
But perhaps we shouldn't feel so down about this, could the fact that it resides out of the spot light be the reason for it's eternal genius? Each year, we see our fair share of remakes of old classics and endless sequels to the point of no return (Fast And Furious has gone on to the point where it's nowhere but down from here, so we might as well keep going) but it's balanced out by rare gems that proves why horror is the epicentre for free artistic expression.
The fact that the horror genre remains slightly underground, for the most part, makes it very much easier to have something made. Horror directors, particularly indie horror directors, tend to take more chances, but why?
Horror has become the breeding ground for underground artists. Made by artists, for artists. Normal guys, trapped in their room working up concepts with their friends after band practice, these are the people behind the camera in the horror film genre. Horror is the Heavy Metal of film culture.
Horror artists seem to have a slight sense of playfulness that more serious screenwriters or directors tend to lack. And it is the lack of seriousness that goes into the process of crafting a story that leads to the genius that is free expression, that leads to a beautiful script.
It's not certain why, but horror filmmakers just have something else pumping through their veins, something that you can't teach. Something you're born with, and it's what makes this genre the immortal beast that it always will be.
So without further adieu, here is the best horror movies, in and out of the spotlight, to check out in the new year so far...
Emelie
The film that is guaranteed to scare the life out of every parent who watches.
I certainly won't be hiring a babysitter any time soon...
A desperate couple who struggles to rekindle the excitement in their relationship hires Emelie (Or whom they think to be Emelie) to look after their daughter and two sons. The oldest brother, and strongest amongst the siblings, holds a painful responsibility of defending his siblings as he uncovers the truth behind Emilie's intentions for the night that follows.
With superb child acting and an impressive story arc, this film will scare you in a way you would never expect. In a world where we are led to be frightened by gore and jump scares (not that there's anything wrong with that) this film gets into your head and frightens you in a more psychological but terrifying manner.
This film is certainly a hidden gem, and is easy to miss, so it certainly earns it's spot as #1 on the list.
10 Cloverfield Lane
J.J Abrams doing horror is a stroke of genius that gives us hope that the Writer/Director will continue his ventures into the Genre. It's always exciting to see a well beloved story told in a new light, if remakes and sequels must be a thing, this is the way to do it.
We are introduced to Michelle (Played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who decides to skip town within the aftermath of a bad breakup, driving down the night highway in a disarray of bad emotions. The next morning, Michelle finds herself chained to a wall of an underground bomb shelter. She is greeted by Howard (A fantastic performance by John Goodman) who claims to have rescued her from a car accident that night.
But as her senses return, Michele struggles to trust Howard of his intentions as she and Emmett (played by John Gallagher Jr) can't help but risk their lives to get a peek at what lies outside the shelter.
This film is terrifying in the sense that it revolves around three characters dealing with a particularly bad situation. Throughout the film you find yourself trapped in a hot box with these three characters as it has you, as an audience member, struggle to find a moral centre. Of course, Michelle is the obvious voice of reason in this film, right? The fact that we have gotten a peek at "What's out there" leaves us at quite an advantage over the characters. But to look at it from the character's perspective is something else entirely.
These people have no clue, not one of them, what exactly is happening outside the bunker. Howard is simply an average guy fighting to keep his neighbor's alive for the sake of the future of the Human race. And Michelle and Emmet are simply bewildered and scared survivalists trying to wrap their heads around it.
It is the thrill ride of a lifetime and is definitely a film well worth a trip to the local Theatre.
The Neon Demon
This Danish-American film noir piece is slowly catching the audience's eye as it creeps into post production for a release this summer.
The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning as a young aspiring model who ends up targeted by a group of dangerous, obsessive woman who will stop at nothing to obtain what she has.
The cast also includes Keanu Reeves, Abbey Lee, and Christina Hendricks, a long time collaborator of director, Nicolas Refn.
A lot about this film has still been left to mystery, but a look at the cast and artwork alone certainly leaves you asking questions and wanting more.
An interesting nugget of information regarding these characters is the relation to Countess Elizabeth Bathory De Ecsed, who was credited to being among the most prolific female murderers in history, one of the films main inspirations. If the darkness of it's source material is to be any clue as to what Nicolas Refn has in store, we are in for quite a twisted and unique performance.
After the fascinating Cinematography and dark conceptual work of Refn's past work (Only God Forgives, Drive), this will be a change of pace for Refin, taking a turn from the world of troubled male bad boys to a film completely dominated by female characters. A very positive step forward in a genre in film that has been primarily dominated by Male leads.
Though Keanu Reeves sits amongst the supporting cast, one of the more exciting cast choices the audience can look forward to is Christina Hendricks. Hendricks has more than proved her acting ability as Joan Harris in the emmy award winning television drama Mad Men and continues to raise the bar in her performances in film, from her more subtle role in one of Refn's finest pieces of work, Drive to her supporting role in Dark places, she seems to steal the show wherever she goes.
The road from Television into Film is a dangerous one, and few actors have the skilled ability to maintain the momentum on the road between, but there is no doubt in the matter that Christina Hendricks has all that it takes, keeping the audience drawn in close, curious as to what hand's she hasn't dealt yet.
The Witch
As bleak as horror films come, this one certainly takes the lead.
Eclipsed in melancholy and darkness, this is certainly one of the most satisfying horror films of the year.
After being forced to abandon the Village, a Farmer (played by Ralph Ineson) and his family are left to survive in an isolated farm near the woods. But as tensions rise after the disappearance of the youngest child, trust is questioned between the family. After being accused jokingly of Witchcraft by her younger siblings (Played by Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson), the Mother (played by Kate Dickie) is driven to mad suspicion of thomason's faith to The Lord and The Devil.
This film will make you scream at the screen, watching the hope slowly decay as the story creeps toward its demise.
The child actors seem to outshine the adults in this film, giving hauntingly talented and twisted performances.
The visuals are fantastic and reminiscent to late 60's cult films such as Eye Of The Devil, revising the cinematography and the slow climax of vintage horror that will itch a scratch on horror fans back's that never left.


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